Starting with this post, I will begin sharing stories from my life. Not all of the stories will be reminiscing on the best of times. There will be sad and heartbreaking tales. There will be narratives on strange happenstances which could leave one bewildered. Life moves in waves where one is faced with a gamut of experiences ranging from breathtakingly beautiful to challengingly crushing. These story posts will likely reflect the fact that much of life is fairly random and can be chaotic at times. None of this is to say that I have had a rough life, just some rough patches. I am extremely grateful for being gifted with the creative capacity to be able to do what I do in life. I am simply exposing myself in public. Just not in the way which will lead to arrest. So, without further ado, let’s begin...
THE LEDGER OF LIFE:
Like many kids in high school, my mom packed a daily sack lunch for me. Whatever company manufactures those brown paper lunch bags are surely still in business due to the caring mothers of the world. The lunches were standard fare: Lunch meat sandwich, snack pack size bag of chips, fruit cup, and a beverage. Every once in a while, I would find a cookie in my lunch bag, but my mom didn’t make a habit of it because she knew I would fulfill my sweet tooth craving via the cafeteria’s junk food vending machine. The gigantic chocolate chip cookie was an appetizing choice but the verified school-wide favorite was the peanut butter-chocolate treat, called “Hollywood Square.” These treats were savory little bites of everything sweet about one’s youth that Reese’s cups could never be. Don’t get me wrong, Reese’s cups are my desert island candy (or should I say dessert island candy), but Hollywood Squares were equal parts salty sweet goodness and nostalgia. Their name seemed to be distinct to the school district, as kids who went to schools in other cities had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned them by name. They will always be Hollywood Squares to me.
The high school lunch room was just as one might imagine it, divided by the stereotypical group classifications: Preps, jocks, burnouts, stoners, and nerds. These distinctions are shallow and superficial but the majority of one’s social interactions at that age tend to be exactly that, shallow and superficial. Even with this division of students, lunch period united us all in one location with a common goal: To stuff our faces.
On a typically routine day during my sophomore year, the bell for lunch period rang and the herd of students piled into the cafeteria. As I entered the room, I said “hi” to several people, after which I proceeded to my regular table. Sack lunch in hand, I started extracting the contents: Sandwich, bag of chips, and fruit cup. Then came the canned beverage. From the looks of the pop-top, I guessed it was either a soda or some other form of sugary syrup drink I used to love in those days. Reaching in, I removed the beverage from the bag, placing it on the lunch table. It was only then that I realized it was not a soda at all. Staring back at me from the table was a can of Bud Light. My mom had accidentally packed me beer for lunch! I hurriedly put the can back in the bag. The internal debate about how to proceed followed. Do I throw it away? No way, that would be a waste. Do I put it in my backpack and return it to the fridge when I get home? Not the wisest idea, as I did not want to be caught with a can of beer at school. The best plan seemed to be the simplest: Drink it. So I did just that. I cracked the beer open, grabbed the can, and chugged it, all while the brown paper bag was wrapped around the can (as if that was somehow inconspicuous). Once I finished my lunch, the empty can went into the trash with no one the wiser. The beer itself was mildly cold, a bit frothy and tasted like making the best out of an unexpected situation.